US House committee subpoenas ex-National Security Adviser Flynn, Trump lawyer Cohen in Russia probe

Michael Flynn is reportedly preparing to offer some documents in separate negotiations with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Michael Flynn is reportedly preparing to offer some documents in separate negotiations with the Senate Intelligence Committee.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Fired national security adviser Michael Flynn and President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, were subpoenaed on Wednesday (May 31) by the House Intelligence Committee.

"As part of our ongoing investigation into Russian active measures during the 2016 campaign, we approved subpoenas for several individuals for testimony, personal documents and business records," Republican Mike Conaway of Texas, who is leading the probe, and Adam Schiff of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the House panel, said in a joint statement.

"We hope and expect that anyone called to testify or provide documents will comply with that request, so that we may gain all the information within the scope of our investigation."

Subpoenas were also approved by the committee for documents possessed by the Flynn Intel Group LLC and Michael D. Cohen & Associates PC.

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The panel is investigating Russian efforts to influence the US election, as well as leaks of classified information and reports that identities of Trump associates captured in spy intercepts may have been improperly unmasked.

Flynn, who previously asserted a Fifth Amendment right not to turn over documents or testify, is preparing to offer some documents in separate negotiations with the Senate Intelligence Committee, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

"I would comply"

Cohen has dismissed any talk of collusion with Russia. "To date, there has not been a single witness, document or piece of evidence linking me to this fake Russian conspiracy," Cohen said in a statement Tuesday.

"This is not surprising to me because there is none." As of Tuesday night, Cohen said he hadn't yet been subpoenaed, but added, "If I was, I would comply."

The committee's announcement doesn't detail whether the subpoenas to Flynn and Cohen contain specific deadlines.

Three other subpoenas tied to the Russia investigation were issued by the House panel for information related to so-called "unmasking" of some Trump associates' names appearing on classified reports during the Obama administration, said officials with knowledge of the subpoenas.

Those subpoenas were issued to the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency for information on any such unmasking requests made by several Obama administration officials, including former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan and former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, according to one official.

There is disagreement about whether those three subpoenas were issued without the knowledge of committee Democrats.

A senior committee aide said any subpoenas related to unmasking were not part of the Russia probe run by Conaway and Schiff. The aide said any such subpoenas would have been issued by Representative Devin Nunes of California, the committee's chairman, who has recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Nunes, who served on Trump's transition team, stepped back from the probe after he was criticised over his handling of classified material shown him by White House staff about alleged unmasking of the identities of Trump associates mentioned in surveillance of foreign individuals.

Presidential transition questions have been raised - including by Republicans on the committee - about why those names weren't redacted and were distributed between intelligence agencies during the transition period between the two presidential administrations.

Flynn was fired by Trump in February after revelations that he misled administration officials about his contacts with Russia's ambassador. He has become a central figure in congressional investigations, as well an FBI probe that now is being overseen by a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

A retired US Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn was a top adviser to Trump during his run for president.

Cohen previously served as as executive vice president of the Trump Organization.